in Training Contracts, Pupillage and Work Experience

3rd class law degree from overseas university

Legal Careers Question :

I have a 3rd Class Degree from the University of Ife in Nigeria.  I have no legal work experience in the UK and I am not qualified.  What are my prospects of finding work?


I think that your chances of finding work are just above 0 %. A 3rd Class Degree in Law virtually guarantees that you will not manage to qualify as a solicitor or barrister without herculean effort and lots of extremely hard work.  Most people either give up or attempt to do something legally related but not as a qualified lawyer. Factor in the overseas qualification and you have reduced your chances yet further, coupled with the fact that you have no work experience, just about writes off any chance you have at all.

However, it is not the end of the world.  There are lots of options for you to consider and in the first instance if you are going to go into the legal profession you need to get work experience. I would say that the best way of progressing your career would be to go and get secretarial or administrative work.  One of the easiest ways to do this is to go and attempt to get temping work as a secretary with one of the high street agencies such as Office Angels or Pertemps.  This will give you the opportunity to get some practical work experience and see whether or not the legal profession is for you.

Your best way to progress a career if at all is to go down the Legal Executive route. This will enable you to work and get experience whilst you are studying and is a cheaper option, despite the ILEX (Institute of Legal Executives) becoming more commercialised these days and charging considerably more than they used to.

I think you need to accept that your legal career is going to be very much based on how much effort you put into it. It may also take you a long time to get any kind of progression in place.

If you persevere you may succeed in getting to your goal of qualifying, but this is going to take considerable effort.

Think carefully!






Jonathan Fagan

Jonathan Fagan LLM FIRP is Managing Director of Ten-Percent Legal Recruitment. He has been recruiting solicitors and legal support staff for law firms and in house legal departments for over 20 years and handles roles from junior fee earners through to partners and law firm sales/purchases. A non-practising solicitor on the Roll since 2000, he is also the author of a number of legal career books, which are available at You can contact Jonathan at